Mali, Libya crisis high on agenda during Hollande visit to Algeria

French President Francois Hollande heads to Algeria on Monday as the two nations, once bitter foes, work ever closer to resolve the political turmoil and jihadist threat in Mali and Libya.
The trip will be Hollande’s second to Algiers since a 2012 visit during which he recognised France’s century of “brutal” rule over the Algerian people which ended in a bloody independence war.
While some prickly issues remain between the two countries – such as Hollande’s refusal to apologise for crimes under colonial rule – the mutual concern over rampant jihadism in north Africa has taken the upper hand.
Algeria shares a border with Mali’s north, which is still fragile after a French-led operation in 2013 ousted jihadists who had seized the upper half of the west African nation.
While French troops patrol northern Mali, Algiers has mediated a peace accord between Mali’s main Tuareg-led rebel groups and Bamako which will be signed on June 20 and is aimed at bringing some stability to the region.
Algeria has also hosted talks between rival political factions from chaos-torn Libya – with which it also shares a long border.

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